Prenatal Workouts - Yoga During Pregnancy

Prenatal workouts are different yoga poses and workouts designed for pregnant women. Pregnancy is the time of exciting changes in a woman's body. It is a miracle that takes place inside every woman and there is definitely a thrill of uncertainty associated with it. Being pregnant can be physically challenging, but you should be prepared to enjoy this miracle. Practising yoga helps the expectant mothers to relax and keep calm, make them aware of the various physical changes taking place in their body and prepare them for a smooth labor. It also helps the foetus to grow healthily.

Usually, the prenatal workouts are divided according to the three trimesters. During the first trimester, simple standing poses are advisable as it helps to strengthen and tone the muscles of your legs. Along with this, stretching and breathing techniques are also practised. During the second and last trimester, poses from seated hip stretches and prenatal sun salutations are recommended as it will give more flexibility and eases the childbirth process. However, it is important to take care not to overdo any of these workouts as that may lead to complications.

The prenatal workouts include the following sequences.

  1. Prenatal Sun Salutation - This is a variation of the normal Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara. Some difficult poses of the normal Sun Salutation sequences have been changed or removed. It is adapted with poses that provide more comfort for pregnant women, prepare them for a normal and smooth delivery and position the baby rightly in the womb. Some of the poses in this sequence are Raised Arms Pose (Urdhva Hastasana); Camper's Pose; Lunge Pose; Downward Facing Dog; Plank Pose; Chaturanga Dandasana Variation.
  2. Pelvic Tilts - These are one kind of exercise which can be done to get relief from back-ache during pregnancy. They consist of slight hip movements which strengthen the muscles of your lower back and the abdomen. They can be performed by lying on the floor or even by standing with your back towards the wall. Some of the workouts in this sequence are Supine Pelvic Tilts and Standing Pelvic Tilts.
  3. Cat-Cow Stretch - These poses helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles and improve and develop the flexibility and coordination of the spine. It can also help to prevent back-aches which are a common problem during pregnancy. Some of the poses in this sequence are Neutral Spine Pose, Cow Pose and the Cat Pose.
  4. Seated Hip Stretches - These hip stretches helps you to relax and increase flexibility of the hip, thigh and abdominal muscles. However, it is advised to avoid poses which requires lying on the floor after the second trimester. Some of the poses in this sequence are Cobbler's Pose (Baddha Konasana); Knee to Ankle Pose; Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana); Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana) and the Seated Wide Legged Straddle (Upavistha Konasana).

In addition to these prenatal workouts or asanas, expectant women are also encouraged to practice pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and yoga nidra. Practising these methods helps pregnant women to relax, invigorates their body and mind and rejuvenates their inner spirit. However, it is always better to consult the gynaecologist before beginning to practice yoga during pregnancy to rule out any problems or complications. Also it is equally important to practice yoga under the guidance of an expert who conducts prenatal yoga classes.